Living in Netherlands means not so much of an Indian food. Cooking Indian food means getting all the ingredients from far away shop. One such shop was Skylo in far away Bejlmer. The shop was owned by a Pakistani. Getting the Indian ingredients from there meant walking to the store far away from the station. It was after 6 Months that our office shifted to Bejlmer.
Bijlmer was once a very crime-prone area but government policies changed a lot of things there and it became one of busiest commercial district. To go to Bijlmer, we had to travel in Bus no 300 from Amstelveen. Bus no 300 Zuidtangent was a grand red bus which took us from Bijlmer to Schipol airport. I liked the route because for a brief moment from Amstelveen to Bijlmer, the road took us through meadows and fields.
The bus stop was far away from the shop. We had to walk a long distance with the heavy luggage to the bus station. Then the bus took us to another station in Amstelveen Centraal and then I had to catch another bus to my home.
The 300 Zuidtangent bus was also the bus to the Pathe multiplex in Bijlmer. It was the fastest travel to Bijlmer because it avoided changing three metros. Changing three metros was not a big problem because all the trains were timed that you don’t miss the connecting train. But when you have so much luxury, we tend to get lazy too.
Picture Courtesy: Wikipedia. A bus stop near Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. Far away in the back ground is the runaway (not in the picture)
Saturday was shopping day while Sunday was rest or roaming day depending on the mood. After Hari left for India, I completed my shopping on Friday and then I had complete two days with me with almost nothing to do. However I had visited Amsterdam Centraal, had seen Madame Tussand twice and had almost walked all the small streets of Amsterdam.
A friend of mine, Y also found himself alone after his roomy left for India. There was little to do except get bored sitting at home. Sundays in Amstelveen are a very quite affair. Actually any day in Amstelveen are quite affair because you hardly saw people on the road. Only the main shopping area had some kind of activity. People are contended living a quite life in Amstelveen
Y came home and we decided to roam around to pass time. That was the time, I did not have a laptop or computer so there was nothing much to do too. We had always traveled to Bijlmer in bus no. 300. Bijlmer was the last stop for the bus. But we never knew where it came from. We traveled half way to Amstelveen bus stop where I would change to a bus home but we never knew what was on the other side.
There was always a curiosity to see the other end of the route 300.
With nothing to do, we decided to go wild. Travel to the other end of the route. See the point where it all starts. The one positive aspect about Netherlands Public transport is, its divided into zones. Once you take ticket for a zone or number of zones, you can travel as much as you want within the time limit. So we got into the Bus no 300 and took the last stop for the bus.
The ticket was comparatively costly because it involved traveling through 4 zones. 4 zones was a long route. We had anticipated that the last stop was couple of stops from our home but ultimately it turned out to be all together a different city. Harlem is the last stop for bus no. 300.
Unlike Amsterdam, Harlem is a quite and very old city. On a foggy morning Y and I (thats funny) got down at Harlem. The city was still asleep as we walked the streets of Harlem. It was fun trying to discover another city.
I have realized and which I always say is the best way to know a city is walk through the streets of the city. A city bus tour may save you time but a walk around the city will save you memories.
We walked into the City centraal. Centraal for any city is the center of the city, the main business center or the main tourist center of any city. Then we just walked from one place to another and trying to discover something interesting. That day we liked the city but thought it as ordinary. Today I realize that the whole experience was interesting. The walking about, the discovering and the just taking in the experience
I had my Sony CyberShot P73 with me, a very basic digital camera. Clicking photos was capturing the moment. Now my emphasis is capturing the moment but maybe making it look good the way I experienced it. We had a lot of drinks (read Juices and cold drinks) before taking the journey and the effect was being felt on my bladder. We walked to the nearby McDonalds only to find that the toilet was close for that day.
It was getting late and my situation was getting desperate. There were no public toilets near-by. The closest one was at Harlem Centraal station but we had crisscrossed the street so much that we could not understand where exactly the station was. We stopped at the bus stop and waited.
The bus which came was going back to Amsterdam. We decided to get on it and travel to the nearest loo we knew, the Schipol International airport. I was holding on as we traveled toward Amsterdam. After a grueling 10 minutes journey we were at Schipol Airport. I rushed to the toilet to empty my bladder.
Finally relief at last.
This was one of the first journey when I decided to find the other end of the route. In the years to come, I tried the same with other routes. The final destination wasn’t as dramatic in most of these journey. Most of the times, it was just a deserted station where everybody got down. But none of the journey was as interesting as the first one which we had taken on an impulse.
The fun of finding a destination just because you feel like and not because you need to.